I recently administered a survey to my email list where I broadly asked about many issues related to advocating for a child or adult with dyslexia. The results of some of the responses I got (e.g., information about test interpretation) were so strong that I will soon create a full webinar or series of webinars on the topic(s).

Other questions arose that I believe are best answered here in a blog post or a podcast! Then, instead of a question, I got a statement sent to me…I hear it a lot.

The irony is that the question is always something like, “When advocating for your child, what has really worked for you?”  And I get “Sarcasm, red faced anger coupled with a very large physiognomy!”  I totally understand but it makes me sad as well. I’ve done the exact same thing while on the stand as an expert witness in special education administrative law hearings. We won 34 out of 35 cases, by the way.  But then I found myself after the hearings screaming and yelling about the cases with my colleague for at least 20 minutes before I calmed down.  What’s going on here?

Reminds me of the story about the Zen Master and the Samurai.

The Samurai Warrior and the Zen Master

I’m going to tell you a story about a Samurai warrior and a Zen Master.
The warrior was big and strong and had won many battles. The Zen
Master was a rather small old man with merry eyes, and was well-known
far and wide as being one of the wisest and kindest men in the land.

One day, the Samurai warrior went to the Zen master for instruction.
“Please,” the huge man asked, “teach me about heaven and hell.”

The master scowled at the swordsman, then broke into mocking laughter.
“Me, teach you about heaven and hell? I wouldn’t waste a moment trying
to instruct the brain of an overweight ignoramous like you! How dare you
ask me for such a lofty insight?”

Well, upon hearing these words, the Samurai grew furious. No one could
insult him like this and get away with it. Enraged, his face flushed and he
drew his sword to chop off the teacher’s head. Just as he was about to
strike, the master raised his hand and calmly said “That, sir, is hell.”

Upon hearing this, the samurai suddenly realized the profound lesson the
master had just taught him – that we make our own hell by indulging in
anger and resentment. The warrior was so grateful for this teaching that
he dropped his sword and fell to his knees in front of the Master, bowing
in humility and gratitude. When he looked up, the old man was smiling.

“And that, sir,” the teacher noted, “is Heaven.

By recounting this story I don’t mean to be arrogant or high-handed.  I totally get it. And, I think that we are best off by staying as conscious as we can. Be calm, be ready for sure, be fearless and never give up.

Like the enlightened warrior, though, we understand who is truly trapped in hell.